Board honors county public works employees

May 16, 2016

Multnomah County public works employees pour concrete on the sidewalk of the Hawthorne Bridge.

Multnomah County’s public works employees were honored by county commissioners who issued a proclamation Thursday in honor of National Public Works Week May 15 - 21.

“Infrastructure is a fundamental service that local government provides,” County Transportation Director Ian Cannon told commissioners at the meeting. “The ability to get where you want to go, to turn on the water tap, the ability to have your building be dry and warm for you to work in, or to have a vehicle to get your work done, these are made possible by public works employees.”

“The people who do this work do our best to go unnoticed,” Cannon continued. “When we do our job well, the public does not have to deal with potholes and leaky faucets. Public Works Week is a chance for the county board and the community to recognize the unnoticed people that help make our community function.”

Multnomah County employs about 250 public works employees. These employees include engineers, surveyors, planners, building managers, carpenters, electricians, mechanics, maintenance workers, and the administrative staff that support these programs. To reflect that range of work areas, Cannon was joined at the presentation by the county’s Fleet and Records Manager Garrett Vanderzanden and Naomi Butler, representing county Facilities and Property Management.

County commissioners voiced their appreciation for the county’s public works staff.

“Living in the unincorporated areas I do notice your work" said east county Commissioner Diane McKeel. She noted that many of the county’s roads are in rural unincorporated areas. “I appreciate not having to drive over potholes,” she said.

Chair Kafoury at Thursday’s board meeting recognizing National Public Works Week.

“Most people don’t think about the infrastructure the county provides,” Commissioner Loretta Smith observed. “A lot of counties around the country don’t have to manage bridges like we do.”

Closing out the presentation, County Chair Deborah Kafoury pointed to her Sellwood Bridge coffee mug. “We love our infrastructure,” she said.

The national Public Works Week celebration is sponsored by the American Public Works Association.